As you may be aware, I rarely post guest posts on this site. When I was approached by a friend to help publicise some of the work being done to expose human trafficking in South East Asia and around the world, however, it struck a chord. Please take a minute to read and share the post, watch the video and donate a little to the cause if you can. ~Dave
For the aspiring or seasoned digital nomad, S.E. Asia is one of the best destinations to explore, meet like-minded people, and grow your online empire. Countries like Vietnam, Malaysia and Thailand offer delicious (and cheap) food, picturesque beaches, kind and curious locals, and depending on where you pitch up, a lively metropolis just waiting to embrace you. One such digital nomad who chose to explore the region was Ben Randall.
Ben found himself in northern Vietnam teaching English and it was there that he befriended a young lady named M, a 15-year old, bright, smiling, friendly Hmong girl. Not long after leaving Vietnam, Ben discovered through a mutual acquaintance that M was no longer in Vietnam, but had in fact been kidnapped. She had been taken to China and, in all likelihood, sold into marriage or worse, prostitution. M’s family were devastated, and so was Ben.
HUMAN TRAFFICKING IS EVERYONE’S PROBLEM
People trafficking is not new news. The problem is, in certain parts of the world it’s so commonplace that the locals and tourists alike often overlook or simply ignore the problem. After all, what can one individual do when 600,000 to 800,000 women, children and men — many exploited for forced labor or commercial sex — are bought and sold across international borders every year?
Right now, it is estimated that there are as many as 27 million victims of human trafficking. Many of them are still thought to be located in Asia and the Pacific. A third of these victims are said to be children – and, sadly, Thailand, ranks highly as one of the worst perpetrators of this horrendous crime. But it’s not just Asia – the UN estimates that 161 countries are involved as a source, transit or destination. This includes the U.S.A — it is thought that up to 300,000 Americans under 18 are lured into the commercial sex trade or other forms of trafficking every year.
WOULD YOU HELP SOLVE THE PROBLEM OF HUMAN TRAFFICKING IF YOU COULD?
The problem is so much bigger than one person could ever hope to solve, but that didn’t stop Ben getting involved. With his background in commercial filmmaking and photography, Ben decided to he was going to search for M, using a situation that has affected someone he personally knew to bring awareness to the plight of trafficked men, women and children around the world.
The documentary remains unfinished, however, and M remains unfound. In August 2013 Ben gave up his job, and has been using his personal savings to fund the trip and the production costs up until now — but this source of funding has run out. He needs your help to finish the documentary and get M’s story, and the story of 27 million others, out to the world. Watch this short clip from ‘The Human, Earth Project’ documentary to have a better understanding of just how important this issue is.